Field Evaluation - FOB By Jason Balazs
Mar 26, 2007 - 3:10:31 PM
Fletching Only Better (FOB)
For as long as humans have been using a bow and arrow, they have fletched their arrows with some kind of fins to stabilize it in flight. The Indians started with tying the feathers on the arrow shafts to try to stabilize the "sticks" they were using. Over time the fletching has evolved into something that any dark aged archer would love to have. Not only has the fletching come a long way, but also the arrow. No longer are we trying to find the straightest stick in the woods to use, but rather we worry about the .005 straightness in our carbon shafts. You know, it is funny because my wife always kids me saying, "You know the Indians never had carbon arrows and they seem to have killed everything just fine." I reply with something like, "They only had one pair of shoes too and no purses either." Usually, that ends that conversation pretty quick.
Now as you have seen before, I have done arrow-fletching segments and showed you how to fletch your arrows from start to finish. I have fletched my own arrows since the late 80's and have used everything on the market to ensure that the vanes or feathers are lined up perfectly. I have even worked in Archery shops doing this and believe me; it is right up there with working at the Hostess factory ensuring that the creamy filling gets inside each Twinkie. It is a very time consuming job and if there is any better way to do it, I would rather apt for that. As in my other arrow building articles I fell in love with the Arizona E-Z Fletcher. That thing saved me numerous amounts of time and headache ensuring everything was lined up.
But like everything else in this world, evolution is happening again. I was surfing the web and checking out some of the new exciting products that were available for bowhunters out there. That is when I came across the website, www.starrflight.com. The title of the link that I saw stated, "Fletch an arrow in 3 second!" I had to check this out. I called up Paul Morris over there and must have talked to him for about an hour about these things. After discussing the design, I told him I would like to do an evaluation on them. He agreed that it would be a great idea and so it started.
Now before we get going, there is one thing that needs to be mentioned here. The FOB is made for a bow that is shooting a drop-away type rest. To ensure that the FOB will clear your drop-away rest, there is a test FOB that slides up and down your arrow. It is very important that you check that your arrow will clear the rest. Let me explain the FOB a little. It is made of a plastic that is flexible yet rigid. There are three fins inside the circle that are the wings that form its outside diameter at one inch. Like their website states, "At first glance, the FOB appears to be a no-brainer piece of plastic that you would find in a kid's meal at a burger joint." Yet this little "toy" is going to revolutionize the way people fletch their arrows.
I shoot numerous types of arrows like Carbon Express and others. If you have a nock on the back of your arrow that is an internal nock, the FOB will work. Most all of the arrows on the market will work with the FOB. Here is something that I really like a bout the FOB. To fletch your arrow, just pull your nock out, put the FOB on and put your nock back. That is it, simple as 1 2 3. If you shoot an animal with the FOB on and get a pass through, the FOB simply pops off. Which is awesome because it marks the spot where you shot the animal.
I posted a topic on the FOB in www.bowhuntingtalk.com to see what people though about it. At first there was much criticism right off the bat. Like everything in humanity, people are afraid of change. But after some discussion there were questions that could only be answered by an evaluation. Some people who thought this thing is like the Turbo Nock. In no way is, this like the Turbo Nock. I have used them before and I was not at all happy with them. They weighed more than I wanted, and if they were bent just a hair, you were out of luck. The FOB is more of a "Hydrofoil" than a fin. These things were designed with the concept of rockets in mind. That is what our arrows are right? Rockets that we are using to take game with. The FOB is also lighter than the vanes and glue that you would use on your arrow.
Easy to install
I took two new Carbon Express Maxima Arrows and cut them to length with my Apple archery arrow cut-off saw. Then I added a different Easy Eye arrow wrap on each one. I fletched one using the Arizona E-Z fletch and Gateway Feathers. On the other one, I just popped the FOB on. After I felt everything dried enough, I was ready to shoot. The reason I did an arrow with fletching is to test how the FOB works in relation to the traditional fletching.
The first shot that I did using the FOB, I flinched. I have to say this because I was worried that it would contact the arrow rest. The tester FOB they sent did do its job, but it was just the fact. Even though I flinched, the arrow still flew true. After about 15 shots with the FOB, I moved back to 30 yards. These things were flying great and I was just amazed at how they were performing. I was using field points for the initial test, but I wanted to try something that I would be out in the field using. Since so many people have problems shooting a fixed blade broadhead, I figured that is what I would use. I reached into my infinite archery box that has hundreds of broadheads and found the biggest bladed ones I had. Still in the package and ready for hunting were 3, 100 grain Stinger Buzzcuts from Magnus. I pulled two out and put them on the arrows. Once again, I shot and the arrow flew beautiful with the FOB. My arrow also flew beautiful with the regular fletching too. There are numerous issues with why people have problems shooting a broadhead. Some of those might be that their bow is not properly tuned or the speed is too much for their fletching to handle. The FOB will help with all of that. If your bow is just a little out of tune, the Fob will correct the arrow much faster than fletching. Why is this? Because the FOB does not bend out of the way like normal fletching does. How about speed? Like I stated, the FOB was designed for rockets. The faster the arrow, the better the stability.
The next text I was going to do was to see really how the FOB would perform with a broadhead that was misaligned. I took my trusty hammer and placed the arrow on the deck out back. I them commenced to hit the broadhead and bend it. By looking at the photo, you can see that this broadhead is very messed up. Before I go on, I want to explain that I have taken numerous precautions to ensure that the range I use is very safe. I have made a backstop that is 8 feet high and 1 inch thick. This way, even if I miss the target, the arrow will stop in the backstop. I ensured that there was no one around when I shot this broadhead. I drew just like any other shot and fired. To my amazement, the arrow only slightly planed about 3 inches off of the center. Now, the time had come to try it with the fletched arrow. When the arrow was released, it spun out of control and hit the dirt in front of the target. Now I was really amazed. Just to ensure that it was not a flaw, I did both of the tests again. This time, the arrow with the fletching went above the target by two feet and hit the hard backstop. The arrow with the FOB went only 4 inches off the center of the target. This thing really does stabilize your arrow. It could make the difference of a hit or miss on an animal.
Next, I wanted to test the speed with the FOB. I used two Carbon Express Maxima hunter arrows cut to the same length as the others. One was fletched and one was not. I popped the fob on the one that was not and was ready in 5 seconds. When I shot the fletched arrows through my Chronograph out of my Bowtech Tribute, the machine read 287 fps. I shot the same arrow three times and received the same speed each time. When I shot the FOB fletched arrow through the machine, the speed registered at 292 fps consistently. Now 5 feet per second is not that much different, but it told me one thing. There is less wind drag on the fob and it is lighter than normal arrow fletching with glue.
The last test I conducted on the fob was seeing how it performed at long ranges with a stiff breeze. Here where I live it seems like the wind is always blowing. I went out to a field by my house and shot the FOB and the Fletched arrow, both tipped with Magnus broadheads, at 80 yards (My last pin on my Spot-Hogg Real Deal Sight). With a cross wind the arrow that had the fletching kicked out of my bow and drifted about 8 inches off of center. The Fob arrow did not kick off my bow and only drifted about 3 inches off center. There was nothing different between shots and the wind stayed constant. I repeated this test over and over and was given the same results.
I have to say that I am a believer. I am very impressed with the FOB and it ability to deliver a more stabilized arrow along with a faster fletching experience. I know that some people like fletching their own arrows, and I am not trying to change or take away that passion that you have. My main point behind this is; the FOB is easy. For a person like me that has a family, job, and numerous other things going on, the FOB saves me plenty of time from having to fletch arrows. Already, I have over six-dozen arrows that I am happy all I have to do is pop on a FOB and it will be ready to hunt with. Since receiving these, I have taken all the arrow shafts that I have and made sure they are all cut to the same length. After that, I placed them all in an arrow tube that I have made out of some PVC pipe. That is my new arrow case and I don't have to worry about messing up my fletching because the FOB's come in their own little tube and are ready to use with no glue required. If you are a skeptic, then all I can say is to try them. I am sure that you will change your mind. I know what I will be using this year on my Buffalo and Elk hunts as my arrow fletching. The FOB provides stability, speed, and ease of fletching; and for that, they have my Thumbs UP!!